Video evidence strong in Ostrem case, judge rules

Trail of accused Wal-Mart shooter set to begin in September

Posted 7/12/18

Video evidence shown to a judge from the November 2017 shooting at Thornton’s Wal-Mart was more than enough to hold accused shooter Scott Ostrem without bond for trail. District Judge Mark Warner bound …

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Video evidence strong in Ostrem case, judge rules

Trail of accused Wal-Mart shooter set to begin in September

Posted

Video evidence shown to a judge from the November 2017 shooting at Thornton’s Wal-Mart was more than enough to hold accused shooter Scott Ostrem without bond for trail.

District Judge Mark Warner bound Ostrem over for trail after reviewing the evidence that Thornton Police and the Adams County District Attorney’s office had collected and hearing from witnesses.

“The most compelling evidence in the case is really the video evidence,” Warner said. “It shows that the first volley of shots were fired in rapid succession, three of them hitting victims. There was short pause, then a number of other shots were fired from somewhat closer to the door.”

Ostrem faces six counts of murder for three victims, as well as a host of other charges.

Warner reviewed the evidence that police and prosecutor collected as well as testimony from witnesses at the scene during the June 29 hearing in Adams County District Court in Brighton.

Warner ruled that the video is direct evidence, not only of the shooting butto the identity of Ostrem as the alleged shooter.

Ostrem faces two different kinds murder charges for each victim - a charge of murder after deliberation and a charge of murder with extreme indifference. Each carries an ultimate penalty of death.

He also faces 45 charges of attempted murder with extreme indifference, a class 2 felony. Each count carries a mandatory sentence of up to 22 years. The final count calls for a mandatory sentence for violent crimes that could boost the attempted murder sentences up to 48 years each.

Friday’s hearing was a not meant to be a shortened version of a trial, Warner said, but an opportunity to determine if the prosecution had enough evidence to warrant a full trial.

Warner ruled they had, and bound Ostrem over for trail without bond. The trial is set to begin in September.

Ostrem is accused of walking into the Wal-Mart on Nov. 1, taking a handgun from his pocket and firing at the shoppers, many of whom were waiting in the store’s checkout line.

Three people were killed in the shooting; 66-year-old Carlos Moreno, of Thornton, 26-year-old Victor Vasquez of Denver and Pamela Marques, 52, of Denver.

Then, according to police, Ostrem walked back out of the store, got into his car and drove away.

Shooting range

Friday’s hearing provided more information about Ostrem’s actions the day of the shooting.

District Attorney Dave Young said that Ostrem went to a shooting range earlier in the day, firing 27 rounds into a target in two minutes. Young argued that amounted to practice for the killing he had planned later that same day, showing a clear intent.

Ostrem’s intent was also clearly shown by where he directed most of his shots — at the people waiting in the checkout line, Young said.

The way the bullets were fired was evidence that the 45 attempted murder charges were deserved, Young said.

“Anybody at that Wal-Mart at the time of the shooting, during that 21 second period, could have been a victim of murder,” Young said. “Those bullets could have gone anywhere, they could have hit anybody within that Wal-Mart. So certainly there should be enough evidence to bind him over for the attempted murder counts as well.”

Closed-circuit television

Family members of the victims and witnesses to the alleged shooting filled the courtroom and second overflow room on the first floor. A closed circuit television from the upstairs courtroom enabled witnesses to watch the trial downstairs in the overflow room.

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